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Family: Man Who Set Self On Fire Was Mentally Ill

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(Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

(Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The family of the New Jersey man who set himself on fire on the National Mall says his death was the result of a long fight with mental illness.

Attorney Jeffrey Cox represents the family of John Constantino, 64, of Mount Laurel. Cox says in a statement the Constantino family believes he wasn’t making a political statement when he poured gasoline on himself in the center portion of the mall Friday afternoon and set himself on fire.

Passing joggers took off their shirts to help put out the flames. Police say Constantino was conscious and breathing at the scene but died at a Washington hospital later that night.

His family acknowledged the efforts of bystanders to save him.

They described Constantino as a “loving father and husband” and asked for privacy.

(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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